From the number of Huffposts and popular articles floating around the internet nowadays, it’s clear that there are lots of things that can help make your marriage better. Today, we want to address just one of those. This is all based on the research of Dr. John Gottman and is referred to as…
The Magic Ratio.
One of the cool things Gottman discovered in his research is that it is okay for couples to have disagreements and arguments. Actually, it’s expected and necessary because it allows couples to discuss issues and work out their differences. So, if you don’t agree with your partner, it’s okay to talk about it. Or if there’s something bothering you, it’s better to bring it up and talk about it with your partner, even if that means having a disagreement.
But if being happy in a relationship isn’t about never having disagreements, what separates happy couples from the miserable ones? One of the key differences is the number of positive interactions that happy couples experience. According to Gottman, this ratio needs to be at least 5:1, meaning…
Those who are happiest in their marriage have 5 positive interactions for every 1 negative one.
The 5:1 ratio.
In other words, those couples who are happiest have plenty of positive interactions to counteract the arguments, disagreements, and problem areas in their relationship. This doesn’t mean they ignore their problem areas, but they do plenty of other things that are positive and help build the relationship so that the problem areas don’t become overbearing.
So, you’re probably wondering how to implement this in your relationship…Well, you might start by paying attention to how you interact with your partner. Are most of the things you say complaints, criticisms, and things that are bothering you? Or, do you take time to let your partner know what you appreciate about them, give them compliments, and thank them for the things they do for you? Try to notice how often you say or do something negative toward your partner and start to get a feel for the balance between negative and positive.
If you find that you are doing well (hitting the 5:1 ratio), then keep it up! If you see room for improvement, there’s some simple things that can be done. Try to find things that you appreciate about your partner and let them know – you can tell them face-to-face, leave a note, or send a text. You could also spend time enjoying an activity together, working on a project together, or just taking time to laugh together. All of these small things can help build your relationship and will leave you both feeling happier in your relationship.
Do you feel like your relationship is at a point where doing the 5:1 ratio would be impossible? Maybe you and your partner are stuck in some negative patterns that make it nearly impossible to have positive interactions? Don’t give up, there’s help to be found! You may benefit from seeing a therapist who specializes in couples counseling. Click here to find a therapist near you. Or take the RELATE Assessment with your partner to find out where you can work on your relationship to improve your interactions!